P80217+K1There are so many big trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains that keep most of us looking up. It is easy to miss much of the understory plants that grow on the forest floor.

While getting the pictures for the ‘Six on Saturday’ article posted earlier, I happened to notice these few small pale flowers that contrasted more with their own dark green foliage than they would have if they were more brightly colored. Perhaps that is a technique to get the attention of pollinators. It certainly got my attention.P80217+K2.JPGThe flowers were not completely white. They were very pale hues of pink. The wood sorrel in the last picture was slightly more pinkish than the unidentified cruciferous (of the family Cruciferae) flowers of the first two pictures. Pale flowers, particularly those that seem to be adorned with barely perceptible patterns, are typically those that use infrared and ultraviolet color to attract pollinators that can see such color. If that was their intention, they would not look so bland to the pollinators whom they prefer to attract.

Much of the surrounding dark green foliage is exotic (non-native) English ivy. It climbs some of the redwood trees and makes quite a mess of the forest. Native specie are too docile to compete with it. The two species in these pictures might have been more common years ago, before the English ivy invaded.

Neither of these specie are the sort that I would plant in my own garden. I do not even know what the first species is. The wood sorrel looks too much like related oxalis. Although several specie of oxalis are popular in home gardens, I still think of them as invasive weeds. Yet, in their natural environment, they are too happy and pretty to not be appealing.P80217+K3

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5 thoughts on “Little League

  1. I was interested in what you wrote about white flowers with barely perceptible patterns, and I also read ‘White Trash’ which is informative on that subject, and also very funny. I didn’t realise about the patterns, which are quite easy to see on the flowers in the post above.

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    1. The patterns are more obvious in photography with either infrared or ultraviolet light enhanced into visible color. I do not have any pictures of such photography, but it is quite interesting. Some nocturnal insects and bats that do not see very well anyway can see ultraviolet light, which also happens to show up better in moonlight.

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    1. The deep rich green of the ferns is always pretty; and the small pale flowers make it even prettier. You know, I never get tires of it. I find other forest fascinating because I do not know the specie there, but I think that the redwood forests and the hills of the Coastal Ranges are the best.

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